How 21st Century are You?

The charging stations of the 21st century are like the playgrounds of the 20th century. Adults hovering around: sometimes feigning interest in other adults and other times exhibiting more interest in inanimate objects like books and phones. When you think about it, the act of hovering could be seen as a little creepy. Instead of pretending to watch their kids, the adults are watching their phones charge. We stand there guarding our smart whatever like a Rottweiler guarding its food bowl. Secretly we repeat the mantra, hurry up, hurry up while our power refills.

Apparently, all that is about to change.

With my cell phone and charger in hand, while in NYC I headed to Saks Fifth Avenue, the mecca of retail therapy. During a brief stop in the store’s dining room for lunch, I went up to the hostess stand in search of an outlet. Instead of taking my phone, the hostess points me in another direction. Baffled at first, I wonder why I can’t charge my phone under her guardianship.

Imagine my surprise when I came face to face with the newest version of a charging station. Who would have thought it would be at Saks and not at the RNC or some other high profile location where I would meet the machine of my dreams?  While I used to dream of Louboutin’s and Jimmy Choo shoes, I now dream of a phone whose battery life is always at full capacity or can get there quickly.

In search of an outlet I found fulfillment. In search of an outlet I found this standalone contraption that looked like a 2016 version of your school locker. Five feet high it consisted of mini lockers, just the size for a phone. You follow the prompts to code yourself in, hook up your phone, close the door and continue shopping or dining. It’s a win for Saks, you stay in the store and are not stressed about the decreasing bar on your phone.  It is a win for the customer; 30-40 minutes later not only were the phones charged, they were at maximum battery life.

Someone took an accepted solution, charging stations, and elevated the security, convenience and effectiveness. Someone did not settle for the status quo. Just about everywhere I go I see a derivative of the charging station and people hovering around their phone. Someone did not accept that this was the best or only solution. How can you apply this mindset to your business life?

Look around. What do you accept as a level of performance that you don’t have to accept?

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, that seemed like the best invention at the time. Then the idea of driving while talking seemed like the best idea at the time. With each reincarnation the phone got smaller and faster and more effective. Kind of. I still think my first CAR phone, stationed on the hump between the front two seats, had the best reception of any phone.

Now charging stations are becoming smaller and faster and more effective. What can you identify in your world that can be improved in some way? What are you accepting as status quo that you don’t have to accept?

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